Tombstone Tuesday: Major Thomas Seward

This stone is another that can be found in Copps Hill Burying Ground in the North End of Boston, Mass. It reads:

Reader
Beneath this Stone is deposited
the Remains of
MAJOR THOMAS SEWARD
who gallantly fought
in our late revolutionary War
and through
its various scenes behaved
with Patriotic fortitude
& died in the calms
of domestic felicity as becomes
a Universal-Christian
Novr. 27th 1800 AEtat 60
The lovely turf where silence lays her head
The mound where pity sighs for hond. dead*
Such is the grief where sorrow now doth sigh
To learn to live is but to learn to die

Note the use of ‘f’ in place of ‘s’ in words like deposited and domestic. AEtat is of Latin derivation and means aged.

“Universal-Christian” is a term I haven’t seen before. A quick web search seemed to relate it to Methodism, but don’t quote me on that.

*I had to look up the words to complete this verse since I had trouble reading it at this point. I found the words here.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Reddies

Last spring, I visited White Marsh Cemetery off Route 50 in Talbot County, Maryland. Among the tombstones that I snapped was this pair:

James and Ellen REDDIE

Yeah, I know. Hard to read. FindAGrave already has separate listings for James Reddie and his wife, Ellen. I took photos because of the moss growing over the stones and they way they’re leaning together.

The Reddies came over from Scotland. Searches on Ancestry.com show that they were farmers and lived in Trappe, near the location of this cemetery. They had three children, William (5), Thomas (9) and Mary (12), according to the 1860 U.S. census. William remained in the area and became Talbot County Sheriff (his 1880 census listing shows him at the Talbot County Jail in Easton). By 1920, Thomas and his wife Lida are living in Iowa, according to the U.S. census. I couldn’t track down any more info on Mary.

In the 1850 U.S. census, there is a James Reddie who is a slave owner, but he lives in neighboring Dorchester County, Maryland. There’s also a confederate soldier from Maryland by the name of James Reddie, but I don’t see any concrete link between that soldier and the James Reddie depicted here.

Tombstone Tuesday: Bittersweet

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Last week, I posted about a volunteer trek to several area cemeteries for FindaGrave.com. A friend of mine and I took volunteer photos of graves for family members of the deceased who live too far away to visit them themselves. This week is my first chance to write about the flip-side — I just received notification that someone has taken a photo that I requested.

My third great-grandmother was Susan Elizabeth (SMITH) CAMPBELL. She was born and died in San Antonio, Texas (in fact, her father apparently* was John William Smith**, the first mayor of San Antonio and a survivor of the Alamo).

I have never been to San Antonio, but I hope to go someday soon. While there, I plan to try and visit the graves of several ancestors, including that of Susan. Meanwhile, I posted a request on FindaGrave.com so that I could see the grave from afar. Another FindaGrave user accommodated my request this weekend. The results are bittersweet.

Susan’s gravestone is heavily damaged. At least half of it is just gone. It appears to have been broken, perhaps on purpose (vandalism in cemeteries is not uncommon) or perhaps courtesy of Mother Nature (trees fall on graves all the time). The rest of the stone is very dirty and worn. I can’t make out any details on the stone except two small flowers at the base on either side.

I appreciate the photographer having taken the time to snap the photo, but I can’t help but be disappointed that the stone doesn’t reveal more.

* I still haven’t definitively proved this to my satisfaction, but all accounts thus far seem to point to this being the case.

** John William apparently was born William John Smith, but flipped his first and last names along the way because it was easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce John. I hate to cite Wikipedia on a fact like that without verifying it, but that detail is just too fun not to mention.

Tombstone Tuesday: Holy Sh!t Edition

Used with permission from allsignsco.com

Bear with me, folks, as I share this story and vent, for I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir on this one and the true targets of the ensuing post shall never see this page:

This past Saturday, my friend, whom I shall call “Shelley” (name changed to protect the flabbergasted), and I decided to take advantage of some fabulous late-November weather (bright, sunny, near 60), to shoot some volunteer photos and fulfill photo requests on FindaGrave.com.

CHESLEY Memorial

We started out in St. Michael’s, Md., at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, where we snapped photos of the tombstones of the Rev. John William CHESLEY and his wife, Sarah F. VALLIANT Chesley. We also saw several supposed relatives of these two (or at least, we saw their graves) and so we photographed them too, for uploading to the site. A gentleman associated with the church saw us and invited us to check out the interior of the church as well, which was beautiful.

This particular cemetery and church is located across the street from several cute shops. “Shelley” had some Xmas shopping left to do and so we visited a couple of establishments before heading back to the car, which was parked behind the church. Suddenly, “Shelly” exclaimed, “That guy isn’t going to let his dog do that on the church lawn is he? He is!” And then I turned to see that, yep, a guy walking his dog was letting it do its business right next to the steps leading up to the church. Ewww. “Hopefully, he’ll at least pick it up,” I said.

After we packed up the car and were on our merry way to our next stop in Sherwood, Md., we passed the same guy and his dog, now on the other side of the street. “Hmmm, he’s not carrying a bag, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt — there’s a trashcan right there.”

“Nope, there’s a pile, right by the church steps. There’s a pile,” “Shelley” confirmed, as we drove by the church. Gross.

Several miles later, we missed the turnoff for our intended stop, but decided we’d hit it on the way back and proceeded to Tilghman Island, where still more graves awaited us. Google Maps had directed us to a small cemetery off a narrow road, nestled behind what looked like a house. I pulled over and we read over all the stones, but none of the names matched the couple we were supposed to find there. I felt weird, traipsing around someone’s apparent backyard (turns out it was the back lot of a business, not a private residence) and so I suggested we drive further down the road to see if we found another cemetery.

Less than a mile later, we came to a United Methodist Church and there was a large cemetery behind it. Bagpipes played in the parking lot — there was a funeral about to begin. We didn’t want to interrupt and parking was at a premium, so I turned around to see if there were any other places to check out in the meantime. That’s when I smelled it. That’s when “Shelley” uttered the phrase you never want to hear: “Um, I smell poop. I hope one of us didn’t step in it.”

I was back on the road at this point, trying to look down at my shoes to see if I was carrying the offending substance. Not me, so far as I could tell. I pulled over in an elementary school parking lot. “Shelley” had apparently stepped squarely in a pile at the previous cemetery.

“Poop seems to be the theme for the day,” I said.

We scavenged some sticks from under a nearby tree and between that and some water I had in the car, “Shelley” was able to clean most of the offending substance off the bottom of her shoe. We couldn’t help but laugh. “I deserve hazard pay for this!” “Shelley” joked.

After much giggling, sticks and “ewws!” we decided to drive back to Sherwood, to find the cemetery we had overshot earlier. We found the church, but it was on the tiniest of lots and we didn’t see a cemetery anywhere nearby. This was a Methodist church too. I said I was willing to bet that the graves we were seeking were probably at the larger Methodist church back in Tilghman. We returned to find the cars from the funeral departing. I parked and we started scouring the cemetery, now looking for the names from the Sherwood request and the Tilghman request.

We quickly found the Larrimores (the Tilghman request), and apparently FindaGrave had them at the right location, but Google Maps had sent me to the wrong cemetery. “Shelley” and I decided to split up the remaining graves because we were beginning to lose the light. We didn’t find the names from the Sherwood request (I’ve since asked another FindaGrave volunteer for directions to the cemetery so I can try again).

What I did find, after scanning the gravestones of my section, was still another, very large, pile of dog crap. The ancestors of the dog that produced this pile must of have bred with a horse.

What is wrong with people these days? When did it become acceptable to let your dog do its business on the lawn of a church or in a cemetery? Okay, let’s say your dog really, really has to go. Pick it up! Like you should anywhere your dog goes. Gah!

Tombstone Tuesday: A Head Above the Rest

I visited the cemetery at Trinity Church of Christ in Manchester, Md., for a house history project I’m working on (shhh! It’s a secret!). I can’t post anything about the subjects of that project yet, but I did take some pics of another tombstone at the cemetery, which literally towered over the rest of the stones there.

The monument pictured above is for the BRUMMELs.

To the memory of
my mother
ELIZABETH BRUMMEL
died March 8, 1879,
aged 77 years,
by her only child
A.O. Brummel
“She is not dead but sleepeth.”

In memory of
A. O. Brummel,
born July 7, 1831,
died June 20, 1909,
Age 77 -11-13
“Untill the day dawn and the day-star arise”

Johanna Fowble,
died Nov. 22, 1890
aged
91 yrs 11 mos & 25 d’s
Loved in life,
not forgotten in death
by a devoted nephew,
A. O. Brummel

In memory of
Lennie Myerblac
wife of
Major A.O. Brummel
born in Sweden
died in Washington, D.C.
May 8, 1803,
in her 47 year
“My cherished hopes I’ve
buried here.”

I don’t know anything about the major or the rest of his family except this tidbit gleaned from Google. He may also have written songs under the name August O. Brummel.

Tombstone Tuesday: Stop and See the FLOWERS, Part 2

Last week’s post reminded me of the pic below, which I snapped earlier this year in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md. I’m kind of jealous of someone whose surname lends itself well to imagery in cases like this:

This beautiful tombstone belongs to:

Lois
Beloved Daughter of
Matthew P. & Mary F.
FLOWERS
Born Dec: 17, 1859
Died Nov: 4, 1884

Tombstone Tuesday: Bozo the Skeleton Clown?

Here’s another photo I snapped at a cemetery in Boston over the summer. The skull on top seems to have hair reminiscent of Bozo the Clown (still more proof, to me, that clowns are evil):

The writing is hard to read in this photo, but the stone belongs to Mr. William Brown, who died in 1745.

Tombstone Tuesday: Skeletal Art

I’ve been chastised by one of my faithful readers for falling behind on Tombstone Tuesday posts and so I’m delving back into some photos I took over the summer at a cemetery in the heart of Boston’s North End. I’m including a photo below of a gem of a tombstone with some wonderfully creepy symbols at the top:

This tombstone features a skeleton apparently sitting on a skull, next to what appears to be an hourglass framed by wings (Time Flies?) and all of this bordered by crossbones. Oh, and there appears to be a scythe behind the seated skeleton.

All of this imagery adorns the gravestone of Mr. Edward Richards, who died in 1747/8 (and this notation seems to indicate the stone was made well after his death, post 1752, when the calendar changed).

The death information for Richards’ son is also on the stone, along with information about his wife.

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington Abbey Revisited

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

About a year ago, I began a series of posts about a few of my ancestors who used to be buried at Arlington Abbey Mausoleum in Northern Virginia. The good news is that after learning that my ancestors’ remains were missing, I eventually was able to track down their whereabouts.

I was contacted by another family historian recently who came upon my posts and now she too has been able to figure out where her relatives are buried. I’m re-posting this series here in the hopes that others who may have had family buried there might find the information helpful.

Arlington Abbey, Part 1

Arlington Abbey, Part 2

Arlington Abbey, Part 3

Tombstone Tuesday: Corley (aka Arlington Abbey: Part 4)

I’m actually still struggling to get more documentation from Parklawn Memorial Park — they will not send me the interment documentation because of what they say are privacy concerns (even though I’m a direct descendant of all three buried there and the most recent of them died in 1930). I’m still trying — my most recent call to the cemetery resulted in a promise to send me a hand-written letter stating who was buried there, but that hasn’t materialized yet. I may visit the cemetery again and visit their offices in person to see if I can get further with them.